Beer & Ethnic Food

I realized the other day, that I really don’t use my wine cooler for anything other than beer any more… There’s a bottle of champagne in there (Veuve Cliquot), but that’s it. Anyway, if you were curious as to what potables an ethnic food scout keeps on hand, I’d feel worried that you might have as few interesting things to do as I. But above is a sampling of staples at the BuHi household.

Stouts & Porters

Breckenridge Vanilla Porter, Victory Storm King Imperial Stout, Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of beer with food – before and/or after, but rarely with (occasionally a Tsing-Tao or Kirin with sushi). I’m sure there are many opinions to the contrary, but my penchant for high-gravity beers that are close to being a food in their own right, limits the pairing opportunities.

One postive aspect of keeping beers that many consider “drink proof” is that everyone always knows to bring their own when they come over…

What do you keep in your wine (beer) cooler? And what foods do you pair it with (especially ethnic)? Comment away…


  1. Beers I keep include anything from Chimay on the high end to an experimental 6 pack of Budweiser American Ale. I don’t drink stouts. Usually I stick to brown ales these days. And yes, I eat them with food: good gumbo, meaty burgers, steak or lamb. If I’m at a Taco Mac, I usually want something heavier – and with a higher fat content – than a salsa cruda if I’m going to drink beer.

  2. Thanks for the ideas. That’s a good point about “fattier” foods tasting better with beer. It’s funny – I used to not like stouts at all – don’t know what changed. I do tend to go for the less “easy to consume” alcohols though. I truly enjoy the taste of ouzo and I like my vodka neat.

  3. My tastes in beers are steadily heading towards the darker heavier beers. Brown ales are where my equilibrium is at these days. When I recently had a bottle of Harp, I found it to be a little weak for my tastes, but drinkable.

    And speaking of that, there was an article on one of the newspapers of record (NY Times or the Wash. Post) that noted that taste buds die as you grow older. Children’s tastes tend to shy away from the stronger vegetables, so this article claimed, because they taste certain vegetables too strongly. As a consequence, stronger tasting foods are more tolerated by older eaters.

  4. Who are you calling old?

    Seriously though, I’ve heard that, but I’m not sure I buy into it (perhaps I’m just horrified that my final taste experience may be brussels sprouts and rancid fish). I know that children’s taste buds change over time – I did the lemon and baby trick with my son quite a bit – but his must be on overdrive and as mature as a 60 year old’s. When asked what he wanted for dinner the other day – caviar, no hesitation – and it’s not childish BS. He’s nuts for tobiko – more than a little is too much for me.

    Anyway, I must be older than you, as I’m already on to imperial stouts. I like to be able to stand a spoon in my beer. If I had to break it down though, I’d probably be more likely to attribute it to my high intake of strong coffee/espresso.

  5. I mention the taste bud research because it’s interesting. I suspect most taste for beer, though, is simply an acquired taste. It takes longer to appreciate heavier beers than a light beer.

  6. I think you can pair beer with food. The carbonation throws you off but still, you can try.

    I know, with a rare steak what could match better than a nice Cal Cab? With a Salmon and pasta dish, I’d take a Cal Chard. I’m from California, you can’t beat our wines for the most part. You can pay more, certainly but you will not get a better food pair.

    With ethic spicy dishes (Chinese, mostly) I’d take a West Coast IPA any day of the week over than AB BS.

  7. If you like stouts and porters, pair them with desserts containing chocolate. Stone Brewing Company makes a Smoked Porter (very subtle smoked flavor) that is killer with chocolate chip cookies–no lie. It is an amazing combo. Actually, on the side of the bottle they suggest it with a blackberry PBJ on sourdough.
    Speaking of smoked beer, Aecht from Germany specializes in rauchbier. I suggest ONLY having this with food. The smoked flavor is way too powerful otherwise. Try it with smoked meat to lessen the impact of the smokiness of the beer. It is definitely an experience, though not everyone’s thing.

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